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Silence on Planes is Golden?; Is Chicken Safe to Eat?; Head Coach's Epic Rant; Duck Dynasty under Fire

Aired December 19, 2013 - 06:30   ET


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Rodman will spend the next several days in Pyongyang with a documentary crew helping to train a team of basketball players for an exhibition game next month. This is Rodman's third visit to North Korea at the invitation of what he calls his good friend Kim Jong-un.

A patient being treated for a mystery illness in Texas has been diagnosed with the H1N1 flu virus. It is the same strain the caused widespread concerns back in 2009. Doctors have seen hundreds of new cases recently. This patient diagnosed with H1N1 is still alive, but the mystery symptoms killed four people in the same area. Two other patients tested negative and results are pending for yet another.

A Harvard University sophomore is out on $100,000 bail this morning, 20-year-old Eldo Kim is accused of e-mailing bomb threats to several buildings on campus Monday. Prosecutors say he was trying to get out of taken an exam. He was released into his sister's custody and has been ordered to stay away from campus.

Quite a desperate decision for the parents of twin 11-month-old boys in the Bronx. Their father tossed the boys from a third story window as smoke from an electrical fire below filled their building. Two people, these men, a relative and postal worker were there to catch them.


PEREIRA: The boy's father scrambled to get out. Three people suffered minor injuries.

Boy, talk about some gratitude for people in the right place at the right time.

CUOMO: And we hear about those stories every now and then.

PEREIRA: We do, a lot.

BOLDUAN: The fact that they -- someone steps up to do it.

CUOMO: Yes. Remember how hard it is -- how hard it would be to do that, the weight even of a little child, yet they do it. Very impressive.

Good stuff.

PEREIRA: Very good stuff.

CUOMO: All right. So, how about this one? No cell for you at least on our planes.

BOLDUAN: That's good stuff.

CUOMO: That's the response from the CEO Delta Airlines as the FCC considers lifting its ban on cell phone use during flights.

At least one other major carrier is on board with Delta opposing the government plan.

CNN's Chris Lawrence is following the story live at Reagan National Airport.

What do we know?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Chris, you can add JetBlue is the other major carrier. And you can add Southwest to the list as well, all three basically say no, we're not going to do this, even if the FCC lifts that ban. Delta with the furthest, basically saying their employees don't want it, their frequent flyers don't want it, but it did leave the door open saying, look, if this ban goes away, we would be willing to allow text messages, e-mail, anything that's silent might be OK for our passengers.

Basically, there's no technology that allows the airlines to do this. It would be able to make cellular calls without disrupting any ground communication. Now, some in the FCC support that, saying, look, the government should get out of the way, let the market and the airlines and their passengers work that out on their own. There's no security reason for us to put this ban in place.

Other members of the FCC say they could see a day when the airline maybe starts to put a quiet cabin in the plane and charge customers more to sit there. So, they're not as comfortable with the idea -- Chris.

CUOMO: Divided government. How odd.

Let me ask you this, Chris. Ultimately we know the marketplace will take up the slack here, right? It's going to be up to the airlines to decide what they do. Any indication about where other big carriers are falling on this issue?

LAWRENCE: United, American, both taking more of a wait and see approach. This is already done on a lot of international carriers. Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, carriers like that.

And the telecommunications industry says, look, this might not be that bad. On those carriers that allow it, the average call lasts less than two minutes. There's only a few people on the phone at a time. And a lot of people just use it to check voice messages, they don't actually talk. CUOMO: Chris Lawrence, excellent points -- thank you for the reporting. One of the reasons I'm juicing Lawrence, I am probably the only person within earshot who is pro cell phone use on airplanes.

BOLDUAN: You're pro? Are you doing this just to be counterpoint again?

CUOMO: Because I allow getting attacked on, I love getting attacked on Twitter? It's part of the reason.

PEREIRA: How often do you get a phone call from him? But you get a bunch of texts from him, don't you?

CUOMO: Because I'm not allowed? If they allowed me to call more on the airplanes.

BOLDUAN: Can you sum up real quick why are you pro?

CUOMO: Because I miss the contact with the people who matter to me when I'm in the air. Often you're there for hours and I don't know how my kids are doing, I don't know how my wife is doing. I can't check in, I feel out of touch and I want to do it. I don't like wasting the time.

PEREIRA: You don't think a text message could help?

BOLDUAN: This guy will be pro until he sits by someone who is chatty, chatty, chatty, then I'll hear about it.

CUOMO: I welcome it. I like people.

BOLDUAN: We'll see, as we say in the news business.

Coming up next on NEW DAY: nearly 400 people in 23 states sickened by chicken. Victims all of a salmonella strain that's resistant to antibiotics. This as a new report slams the quality of government oversight of our food. We have what you need to know, coming up.

CUOMO: And from chicken to ducks. The patriarch of the Duck Dynasty empire suspended because of crude comments about homosexuals. Did reality star Phil Robertson just cook his own goose?


PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

As you sit in your kitchen eating your breakfast, we want to share some very serious concerns about the foot we are eating. A new study from Pew Research says the USDA is not doing enough to protect consumers from salmonella. This comes amid a national outbreak. Some 400 people in 23 states have been sickened with the bacteria. So are Americans at risk and what should the government do about it?

Joining us is Dr. Roshini Raj. She is an internist and assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center. I think this is shocking to people to think about this. Good morning.


PEREIRA: This, in the midst of this outbreak, that this study from Pew is saying that the USDA is not doing enough. It's their job to protect and to study our food sources.

RAJ: It is and we have to remember that, you know, total decontamination, not having any bacteria in our poultry may be too lofty a goal. But the question is how do we prevent people from actually getting sick from it?

Now, you can have contaminated poultry and then they decontaminate it. But what these watch groups are saying is the government really needs to work on prevention. Don't let these chickens get the bacteria in the first place.

PEREIRA: Why is it? Why are you saying it's near impossible? "The New York Times" is saying in Sweden, they don't have salmonella issues. They don't have this contamination issue.

RAJ: Right. They don't have it when it gets to the consumer. Yes. So, the thing is, many of these --

CUOMO: When it gets to the consumer.

RAJ: When it gets to the consumer.

CUOMO: You're still drawing the same distinction between having contaminated birds versus contaminated birds that are -- you consume (ph).

RAJ: Right. And these -- when we're talking about salmonella and some other bacteria, they do live in the intestines of the poultry. But going from the intestine to the flesh that we're eating, that's the question. It all depends on the conditions they're being processed in, the conditions they're living in.

And ultimately when the consumer gets it, how we're treating the poultry. That's one thing where we have to be extremely careful.

You know, "Consumer Reports" did a study, where the majority of the samples, they tested many different brands of chicken, all had bacteria in it, potentially illness-causing bacteria.

So, we have to be very vigilant.

BOLDUAN: So, how should we be more vigilant? Clearly, people are getting sick. We have lots of questions about this antibiotic resistant strain of salmonella.

RAJ: Right.

BOLDUAN: But what should people know? Is it extra washing of your chicken before you eat it. Making sure it's cooked better. RAJ: Certainly cooking. The old theory was 165 degrees are kill it. Some people are saying go up to 180 degrees, because we are seeing new strains of bacteria, that might be more virulent and resistant to killing.

But you also have to be very careful when you're handling chicken, raw chicken, that you're washing all the surfaces, all utensils, your hands, before you're touching everything else in your chicken. So, you can be touching the chicken and then touching a faucet.

And you know, are you going to wash that faucet right away?

PERIERA: You're moving so fast in the kitchen, that most people forget that extra step.

RAJ: You don't.

And the antibiotic resistance point you brought up is a very important one, because not only are we seeing salmonella but we're seeing salmonella that's difficult to treat with traditional antibiotics.

CUOMO: Is that because you're giving the birds too many antibiotics to begin with.

RAJ: Absolutely, yes. And many times, it's used to help the growth of the bird. But it's not necessary. And, by the way, organic doesn't mean --

PEREIRA: Well, I was just going to about to ask, like what do we do?

BOLDUAN: Organic doesn't mean safer.

RAJ: Well, organic doesn't mean safer from a bacteria standpoint but if they're not using antibiotics, which usually they're not, at least the bacteria you get won't be resistant to antibiotics.

PEREIRA: You look at those numbers, 400 people, 23 states, this is widespread. And there are probably people that didn't seek treatment.

RAJ: Sure, because, often, salmonella causes a diarrhea illness. And it goes away within a few days in the vast majority of cases. This strain recently however was more aggressive, 40 percent of those sickened were actually hospitalized. Usually, it's 20 percent or less. So --

BOLDUAN: What do you think of the FDA's move that they announced? That they're going to try to be pulling out the antibiotics from the feed --

RAJ: Well, I think it's a great first step. The problem is the timing. How soon can they do it and how quickly? That's what many people worry, it's not soon enough.

CUOMO: Not dealing with big problem, though. Big problem, though, is that you have these huge stocks of poultry.

RAJ: Yes.

CUOMO: That you're sticking together in unhealthy inherently circumstances. If you don't address that, everything else is --

RAJ: Absolutely. It's a financial thing, too. They can do it. It's going to cost a lot. Is that cost going to be passed on to the consumer?

PEREIRA: It will cost more.

RAJ: Yes.

PEREIRA: Roshini Raj, thank you so much. We appreciate it coming in.

RAJ: Yes. You, too.

CUOMO: Indra Petersons with the weather. What do we know? What are we tracking? I'm giving you time to get over there. Did you just fall? I heard that.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: No, not me by the way. That was a loud --

CUOMO: You got up quick. But, Indra, I appreciate it.

PETERSONS: Yes, right. All right. We're starting with the good news, for so many, it's been cold and has been snowing on the East Coast, look at these temperatures, they are going way up by the time we hit, yes, the weekend. So, perfect timing for once.

And we are talking about 70 degrees in New York City by Sunday. D.C., you're going to 71. And Atlanta, typically you see 70s here and there. Either way, well above normal. There go your 70s by Saturday.

So let's watch this, kind of take it in, because keep in mind, it is warm but this is what's going on at the same time. So, it's warm but there's rain out there, severe thunderstorms as well.

Let's talk about how we're going to get from where we are now, to what's expected a couple days away. First, let's take the first system today, making its way through the Midwest. Definitely pay attention, if you're in places like Wisconsin, down through Missouri today, some icing concern overnight tonight. Also, if you have flights in that region.

Then, by tomorrow, it makes its way into the Northeast. This is a tiny system, just some light rain. Now, it's the big one that's going to make that big mess I showed just a few minutes ago. It's another low making its way towards the Southeast. Warm air, the jet streamlines up with it on top of it. We have the threat for severe weather.

So, that's going to be the big story as we make our way in through the weekend, especially Saturday, in through Sunday, you're really going to be wanting to watch that. While it's warm and thunderstorm in the Southeast, keep in mind in the northeast, it's a wintry mix and icing potential the farther north you are. So, like New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, icy and cold.

BOLDUAN: The mix I think is the worse, one or the other.

PETERSONS: We're in the middle with 70 and light rain.

PEREIRA: Seventy degrees in December.

PETERSONS: For one day, right?

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Indra.


BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, a star of the hit show, "Duck Dynasty" has been benched after making anti-gay comments in a recent interview. Is the future of the very popular show now in jeopardy?

PEREIRA: And a college basketball coach goes off on his players. Was he out of bounds? You'll hear his outburst.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How can you go two for -- my wife -- my wife can score more than two buckets on 11 shots.



CUOMO: Welcome back to Eastern Conference power houses, really the only two. Met in Miami last night as the Pacers took on the Heat.

Andy Scholes joins us with the highlights in this morning's "Bleacher Report."

What did you see, Andy? What did you see?

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Chris, I saw unique two teams. They really don't like each other. It's only December, but it's pretty clear, you know, the Heat, the Pacers, they're going to play in the Eastern Conference Finals once again this year. And last night they were squaring off for the second time this season. Indiana won the first match-up. So, you know, the heat really wanted to win last night.

Check out this heated exchange between LeBron and Mario Chalmers on the bench last night. They almost come to blows. They would eventually kiss and make up later on in the game.

And this what we'd come down to the wire, Check it out. LeBron basically holding on to Paul George as he takes a three that would have tied the game. No foul was called on the play. The Heat go on to win it, 97-94.

All right. Trending on today is the sports rant of the year. Tuesday night, Southern Illinois lost to Murray State and head coach Barry Hinson was not very happy with his players afterwards.


BARRY HENSON, SOUTHERN ILLINOIS HEAD COACH: I have a bunch of mama's boys right now. Two for 11. How can you go two for 11? My wife. My wife can score more than two buckets on 11 shots. Because I know my wife will at least shot fake one time. It's a lot like house training a puppy dog.

You know what, when the dog does something wrong, bad dog.


SCHOLES: We see this every couple of years, guys. And this one is going to go down, as you know, one of the best rants in my mind ever.


BOLDUAN: Andy, our executive producer made the point, when he was talking about the -- house training a dog. He wasn't talking about his wife right then. Just want to make sure we're aware.

SCHOLES: No. He definitely was not. And it was funny, his wife said he way oversold her basketball skills. She would not make more than two shots.


CUOMO: Important note. He also said he wasn't talking about hitting his players. That that's not what it's about.


CUOMO: It was just to protect him from obvious levels of scrutiny. I loved the rant, by the way.


CUOMO: Just saying.

SCHOLES: Yes. I loved it, too. His ADA backed him up.


BOLDUAN: Andy, watch out. It's all I'm saying.

CUOMO: It's not about hitting people just (INAUDIBLE).

BOLDUAN: Well, it isn't. If I'm involved, it is.

CUOMO: All the people-people?


BOLDUAN: We'll see you later, Andy.

SCHOLES: Bye, guys.

BOLDUAN: All right. A story that has a lot of people talking this morning, a "Duck Dynasty" star suspended for shooting off his mouth. Phil Robinson is a patriarch who turned a family business into a multimillion dollar empire. But now comments he made criticizing gay people could put his top-rated reality TV show in jeopardy.

CNN's Nischelle Turner joins us with much more.

It started with a magazine article.


BOLDUAN: And it's turned into something different very quickly.


TURNER: Ballooned into something else. Another day, another celebrity in trouble. That's what it seems like.

In this "GQ" article that we're talking about Phil Robertson appeared to be an equal opportunity offender. You know, it's the height of duck hunting season in Louisiana but right now he won't be on camera to show off his shot.

The show's network, A&E pulled him from future shoots indefinitely, saying they were, quote, extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson's comments in "GQ."


TURNER (voice-over): The patriarch of the hit reality TV show "Duck Dynasty" sounded off.

PHIL ROBERTSON, "DUCK DYNASTY": My idea of happiness is killing things.

TURNER: But he turned the target on himself. On Wednesday, A&E suspended Phil Robertson, founder of the Duck Commander Company and head of his backwoods Louisiana family, from filming indefinitely for the controversial anti-gay statements he made in an interview with "GQ" magazine.

In the article Robertson says, quote, "It's not logical, my man, it's just not logical." He goes on to explain what he finds sinful. Saying, "Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that man, and those men," he says.

Robertson then refers to a bible passage from Corinthians saying, "Don't be deceived, neither the adulterers or the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, they won't inherit the kingdom of God. Don't deceive yourself. It's not right."

His words angering gay rights activists. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was shocked and appalled really that somebody who's on A&E's highest rated show would say something along the lines of comparing homosexuality to Bestiality among other things.

TURNER: Robertson and his family are known for preaching their Christian beliefs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We still managed to stay true to ourselves.

TURNER: Telling "GQ" they're, quote, "Bible thumpers" who just happened to end up on television. But gay rights advocates say along with the limelight comes responsibility.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have the freedom of speech, absolutely. But we have the freedom to turn off all of our televisions when you say something that offends us and the people that we love.

TURNER: Robertson released this statement after the article was released saying. "I would never treat anyone with disrespect, just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other."


TURNER: And not only did he make anti-gay comments, he also said in the article about growing up in the Jim Crow south he, quote, "never saw black people mistreated," and that he worked cotton fields with blacks and said, quote, "They're singing and happy, I never heard one of them, one black person, say, I tell you what, those doggone white people. Not a word. They were -- were they happy? They were godly. They were happy. No one was singing the blues.

There's a lot to react to here with this article, definitely.

CUOMO: So what do you got?

TURNER: Well, first of all, I would say the anti-gay comments are way out of bounds. Even though there are a lot of people who are arguing, and I saw it on Twitter last night, a lot of people reacting that it's his freedom of speech, he can believe what he wants, which is true. But that doesn't mean it's free from consequences.

BOLDUAN: Right. And you will --


TURNER: When you say these things when you're a public figure.

BOLDUAN: And you'll hear -- he is not alone. I'm not supporting the comments but he's not alone in those views. There's a large -- there is a segment of the population who agrees with exactly what Phil is saying.

TURNER: Yes. There is a segment of that population and then also to speak to the comments about, you know, the pre-civil rights era, I'm not trying to speak what's in his head. But when you see these comments this is exactly the type of warped logic that white racists used back in the day to justify their actions for repression of black people.

They're singing, they're happy.


TURNER: I'm not hearing anybody complain. Those -- you know, those black folks are happy folks. They're not saying anything. So those are troubling, all of this, I believe, is troubling.

BOLDUAN: Interesting how quickly A&E moved.

PEREIRA: Yes. Well, we saw with Paula Deen how things went with her and the time it took for that to sot of right itself, if it has. It's going to be interesting to see how this plays out.

TURNER: And they have a $400 million empire. Let's remember that here.

BOLDUAN: Huge empire.

TURNER: Big deal with Wal-Mart. So what's going to happen with that? Are they going to back off with them? So there's a lot in play here still.

CUOMO: Yes. On the basis of what we know, with the statements that are out there, Paula Deen pales in comparison.

BOLDUAN: Exactly right.


CUOMO: You've got to ask yourself, you know. You love family, you love each other. That's the goal. Do these comments square with that?

TURNER: Right.


BOLDUAN: The magazine writer actually -- the "GQ" writer did a really good job of pointing out those inconsistencies if we should put it that way in the piece about what he was saying -- what he's preaching and reality.

TURNER: And I grew up in what's being called a Christian household. And I never heard these type of beliefs.

BOLDUAN: No. Neither did I.

TURNER: In my Christian household.

BOLDUAN: Great point, Nischelle. All right. Coming up next, on NEW DAY, Atlanta celebrating its newest millionaire. Multimillionaire. We're going to tell you how the Mega Million winner picked her lucky numbers.

CUOMO: Great smile.

PEREIRA: She'll be smiling more now.

CUOMO: Million dollar smile.



CUOMO: Breaking morning, 40 million credit and debit cards accounts hacked at Target stores since Black Friday. Are you at risk? We have the details.

BOLDUAN: Time for a change? The White House releases recommendations on how to modify the NSA spying program but will they actually follow through on them?

PEREIRA: Falling on deaf ears? One Direction topping the charts once again but is their latest hit a blatant rip-off of this Def Leppard classic?

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira.

CUOMO: All right. Good morning. Welcome back to NEW DAY. It's Thursday, December 19th, 7:00 in the East. There is breaking news this morning.